New Jersey Weighing CE “Lemon Law”
Legislators in New Jersey have proposed a measure that would extend traditional “lemon law” protections to customers purchasing consumer electronics. A-3978, also known as the Consumer Electronics Warranty Lemon Law, unanimously passed an Assembly committee last week. The idea behind the legislation, its sponsors said in a statement to PoliticsNJ.com, is that because some consumers spend thousands of dollars per year on electronics, they deserve the same sort of protections that car owners do.
To avoid prosecution under the proposed law, sellers would have to meet several criteria: Replace items that could not be repaired after three attempts; refund defective items; provide at-home service, if promised, within 72 hours, and comply with several other provisions. Failure to comply would result in a $10,000 fine for first offenders, under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.
If passed, New Jersey’s bill would be the first law of its kind in the nation, although going after electronics salespeople for Lemon Law violations is not entirely unheard of; Kimmel & Silverman, one of the East Coast’s top Lemon Law firms, lists electronics along with cars, trucks, motor homes and boats as “lemon” items for which it goes after fraudulent sellers. Traditionally, such claims have been brought under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law passed in 1975 that governs all consumer warrantees.